1 year ago

The Equity of Influence


KNOWN | 11 • Help

KNOWN | 11 • Help attract donations for a charity • Sell digital products online • Run for political office • Achieve recognition for their work • Earn a university teaching position • Become a paid “influencer” • Be in a better position for a promotion • Share their passion and ideas to make the world a better place In the process of helping my friends find a path to achieve these dreams, I heard myself delivering the same advice over and over: “Well … to achieve that goal, you have to become known.” I began to realize that there are so many personal and professional goals today that simply can’t be achieved without being known! Maybe you’re like my friend Alisa Meredith, an independent marketing professional. When she heard I was writing this book, she sent me a note: “I want to be known. It’s not about being famous. I’d rather just make a good living quietly. But I’m a horrible salesperson. My hope is that if people come to know me, it will be easier for me to connect with the new customers I want to work with.” Certainly, it would work that way for Alisa. This is the kind of thinking IBM uses when it encourages its many scientists and engineers to blog and create videos. Many

12 | MARK W. SCHAEFER of them have attracted passionate fans through their insightful content, so when they walk into a sales meeting for the first time, there’s instant credibility in the room. They’ve essentially pre-populated the sales relationship! Being known is not the same as being famous. It’s not about having millions of fans and red carpet appearances. Being known is about having the proper authority, reputation, and audience to realize your potential and achieve your goals … whatever they might be. Passion without a plan is a hobby The “personal branding” space is pretty crowded. Amazon has more than 3,000 books on the subject. It seems that everybody has advice on how to be famous, become a guru, or establish yourself as an “influencer.” What makes this book any different? Most of the self-help available on the subject of personal branding starts and stops with “discover your passion.” But then what? We live in a world filled with intoxicating mythology, like “If you can dream it, you can be it.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to hang my future on a dream. I need a plan. And I think you probably need one, too. Finding your passions and strengths is important, but that’s the starting line, not the finish line. You need to be known for SOMETHING in a relevant space large enough for it to MAT- TER. You need to create content in a way that makes a difference and builds an audience you can ACTIVATE. While the prevailing guru-speak may urge you to ignore the rest of the world and simply follow your dream, I’d like to offer different advice. Let’s think this through. It may take years of work to become known. Why not be smart about it, plot out a real strategy, and give yourself the very best chance to suc-

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